Characters / Ready Player One

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    The "High Five" 

The High Five

  • Five-Man Band: Somewhat.
    • The Hero: Parzival
    • The Lancer: Aech
    • The Big Guy: Daito is somewhat of a Type 1. He never joins the group in full, but does fulfill the role in the long run.
    • The Smart Girl: Art3mis, especially prominent in the finale, when she knows more about "Tempest" than Wade does, and kept a real-life copy of her egg notes, considering her account had died.
    • The Heart: Shoto, oddly considering his Red Oni status to Daito.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Following Daito's death.
    • Sanguine: Aech
    • Choleric: Parzival
    • Leukine: Shoto, though with some elements of Sanguine as well.
    • Melancholic: Art3mis, to a degree.
  • Kid Heroes: They're all, at maximum, about twenty.
  • Meaningful Name - With the exception of Aech. Art3mis and Parzival are both named after famous hunters (The God of the Hunt and the knight who found the Holy Grial), while Shoto and Daito are named after the pair of swords a samuraii wears.

Parzival (Wade Owen Watts)

The protagonist of the novel, Wade Watts is a kid in the slums of Oklahoma City who becomes the first person to find the Copper Key, starting the true hunt five years after it began.
  • Alliterative Name: Wade thinks that it's because his father, a comic book geek, thought it sounded like a Super Hero Secret Identity.
  • Badass Bookworm: Like any prominent gunter. However, he doesn't actually work into this role until after he obtains the Copper Key.
    • Took a Level in Badass: From a level three user who can't even get off of the school planet of Ludus to a level ninety-nine gunter who is celebrated the world over. Also in the real world. After Art3mis breaks up with him, he throws himself into the hunt, shaves his head, drops his fat, and starts constructing an elaborate Batman Gambit to expose IOI.
  • Classical Anti-Hero
  • Conveniently an Orphan
  • The Cracker: He is, without too much difficulty, able to hack the US government's databases to create a new identity for himself after his remaining family is killed, and then hack it again to resume it once his new identity is burned. He also hacks IOI's most secure system from what amounts to an ipad mounted in the wall of a sleeping tube.
  • Guile Hero: As shown by his Batman Gambit to open the shield over the Crystal Gate.
  • Hero Protagonist
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Wade suffers this as Art3mis breaks up with him, he loses touch with Aech, and worst of all, the head of IOI clears the second gate and finds the third key before him.
  • Hikikomori: Especially in his time at Columbus.
  • Homeless Hero: Briefly.
  • Humongous Mecha: For clearing the Jade Gate, he gets a copy of Leopardon that he can pilot.
  • Magic Knight
  • One-Letter Name: A variant, in that Aech calls him "Z".
  • Parental Abandonment: Wade's real parents died when he was young. Even his single mother, who did seem to care for him, didn't have time to do much beyond set him up with OASIS.
  • Physical God: After obtaining the Egg, he becomes even more powerful than Og, due to Halliday giving him Anorak's powers and the kill switch of the entire OASIS.
  • Rebel Leader: By the finale. Emphasized with how all of the gunters are chanting his name as he flies in to start the battle.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Why he declines Sorrento's offer for money in exchange for helping him.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Wade has few qualms about breaking real world laws in order to stop IOI from violating the spirit of the contest.

Aech (Helen Harris)

Wade's best friend in the OASIS, he starts as a professional arena fighter who also works as a gunter. "He" is really a she, the African American, lesbian Helen Harris.
  • Abusive Parents: Her mother disowned her and forced her out of their house for being a lesbian.
  • Alliterative Name
  • Badass: A renowned arena fighter before the Copper Key is found and the true hunt begins. In real life, she is revealed to be driving around the country alone in an RV, jacking in where she stops. Mind you, earlier in the book Parcival took a long range bus that needed a half-dozen armed guards and built himself a fortified apartment to avoid being robbed.
  • Black and Nerdy: Though to be fair, every other gunter is just as nerdy.
  • Black Best Friend: To Wade.
  • Butch Lesbian: To the degree that most people don't even know she's a girl until they meet her face to face. Wade isn't even surprised, since they talked about girls a few times.
  • Gamer Chick
  • G.I.R.L.: Inverted.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners/Platonic Life Partners: With Parzival.
  • Humongous Mecha: For clearing the Jade Gate, (s)he gets a copy of Gundam RX-78 that (s)he can pilot.
  • One-Letter Name: The avatar name, Likely because a straight One-Letter Name wouldn't be usable on the OASIS, or because "H" was taken.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Aech presents as male in OASIS and is known as a professional competitor, and not just in egg hunting. Meeting face to face is when Wade finally realizes Aech is a woman. They share a moment of Stunned Silence before everything just "clicks" as his mind adjusts to this revelation and they laugh together.
  • Sassy Black Woman: She's definitely sassy, but the fact that she's also black and female are not revealed until the end of the book.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Threefer, actually. She's African American, female, and homosexual.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Parzival.

Art3mis (Samantha Evelyn Cook)

A female gunter who Wade has a geek crush on. They start dating somewhat as the contest goes on, but break it off after a while for the duration of the contest.
  • Action Girl: In the OASIS.
  • Badass Bookworm: Like any prominent gunter.
  • Gamer Chick
  • Girls with Guns: In the OASIS.
  • Humongous Mecha: For clearing the Jade Gate, she gets a copy of Minerva X that she can pilot.
  • Leet Speak: Since straight up "Artemis" was taken.
  • Love Interest: To Parzival.
  • Magic Knight: The first prominent one Wade interacts with in the OASIS.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Subverted. Art3mis flies off the handle at Wade when she learns that he lied about having beaten the Ancient Tomb Lich and thereby obtaining The Copper Key, but she's not really as angry about his dishonesty as she is about the fact that he beat the Lich on the first try when she had been trying for five weeks. She later apologizes for blowing up and acknowledges that he was only doing what any Gunter in his place would have done.

Daito (Toshiro Yoshiaki)

Shoto's "older brother" in the OASIS, he's rather brash and irritable. He is murdered by IOI when they throw him off a balcony in his home while he is protecting Shoto as he goes for the Jade Gate.

Shoto (Akihide Karatsu)

Daito's "little brother" in the OASIS, he serves as a voice of reason. Following Daito's murder, he stops caring about getting the Egg and aims for revenge instead.

    Major Characters 

Nolan Sorrento (IOI-#655321)

Head of Operations at the Oology Division of Innovative Online Industries, Sorrento hopes to gain the Egg so that IOI can take control of the OASIS, putting charges on using the simulation at all.
  • Affably Evil: At least to Parzival when he interviews him. He seems genuinely disappointed that Wade chose to let his aunt and her boyfriend die rather than help IOI.
  • Big Bad: Though his superiors are the Bigger Bad.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
  • Evil Laugh: Once he destroys Leopardon.
  • Final Boss: In the battle near the end. Aech even lampshades it, given the OASIS is basically an MMO game.
  • Karma Houdini: The book's climax suggest that he may get away with his many wrongdoings due to lack of solid evidence and very good corporate lawyers (although Wade points out that after winning the contest so does he. In any case, he sure expects this to be the case.
  • Scaled Up: A variant. In the finale, Sorrento pilots Mechagodzilla against the gunters.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Since Halliday didn't set down rules, he feels free to cheat. This is common of all of IOI.
  • We Have Reserves: Starts to kill his own men in Mechagodzilla in the finale. It doesn't matter much to him, since they're using hacked rigs, meaning each person can just find a new avatar.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Shown in the now-canon short story Lacero written by Andy Weir, Sorrento entered IOI to find the Egg and destroy OASIS, which he believed indirectly caused the world's current state (probably rightfully) and directly the cause of his sister's death, who became so addicted to the game that she resorted to taking meth to search for the Egg, later dying from an overdose).

Ogden "Og" Morrow (The Great And Powerful Og)

Co-creator of the OASIS and close friend of Halliday, he left Gregarious Simulation Systems some years prior to Halliday's death due to his belief that it was becoming a Lotus-Eater Machine. Halliday entrusted him with keeping the contest for the Egg cheating-free, and he helps the High Five's remaining members in the finale by giving them a safe real-life place to log into the OASIS.
  • Big Good: By the finale.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Do not crash his OASIS party and start a fight. He has Superuser rights since he helped create it.
    • In the real world, he is obscenely rich, and is able to quickly spirit the kids away to safety when he learns IOI intends to have them killed off, using a fleet of limosines and private jets when most people can't even afford bus fare. This ends up facilitating IOI's defeat in the final battle.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's in his seventies, and still acts like he's a teenager at heart.
  • The Mourning After: He never remarries after Kira dies.
  • One of the Kids: He acts like any gunter, even calling out IOI on live television and laughing about it.
  • Physical God: In the OASIS.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Both Ogden's avatar can do pretty much whatever he wants, including snoop on private chat rooms. An unusual benevolent example, as Ogden is using his powers to keep an eye on the High Five so he can help them out if they need it.

James Donovan Halliday (Anorak)

Creator of the OASIS and starter of the hunt for the Egg, Halliday was a computer programming genius prior to his death. An Eccentric Millionaire, he's modeled after Howard Hughes and Richard Garriott.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It is speculated in-universe that he had Asperger's Syndrome, but this remains speculation rather than a formal diagnosis.
  • Celibate Eccentric Genius: Though he was in love with Kira.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Very much so. It's speculated postmortem that he had a form of Asperger's Syndrome.
  • Expy: The author compares Halliday to Bill Gates, based on Howard Hughes and Richard Garriott.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Why he didn't talk to Ogden for so long. He was jealous of him having Kira's love.
  • Lonely at the Top: As he admits to Parzival.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: His death began the hunt for the Egg.
  • Passing the Torch: The entire point of the Egg.
  • Physical God: His avatar in the OASIS was.
  • Posthumous Character. The book begins five years after his death.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Even more so than Ogden's avatar. His office holds the kill switch to the OASIS itself, meaning he could end the simulation permanently at any time. He gives this power to Parzival for getting the Egg.
  • Virtual Ghost: Subtly hinted at. Halliday is gone but his influence is still felt very strongly in the OASIS. Wade even talks to a very advanced AI version of Halliday's avatar after obtaining the egg.

    Minor Characters 

Aunt Alice

The sister of Wade's deceased mother, his aunt lives with her current boyfriend Rick and regularly pawns off Wade's possessions to pay for rent for the three of them.
  • Asshole Victim: Deconstructed for her and her boyfriend. Even though they were jerks, Wade doesn't think they deserved to die.
  • Jerkass: Her only scene involves selling Wade's possessions and yelling at him.
  • Jerkass Victim: Deconstructed. Even though she is painted in her scene and general narrative as a horrible woman, Wade comments several times that it wasn't enough that she deserved to die.
  • Killed Off for Real: She and her boyfriend are killed when a bomb under the trailer they live in blows up when Sorrento tries to kill Wade for rejecting his proposal.
  • Nephewism: Ironic, considering Wade's Alliterative Name and his father's love of comic books.

Karen "Kira" Underwood

Ogden's late wife. Halliday's unspoken love for her and jealousy of Og was the reason why they did not speak for a decade prior to his death.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/ReadyPlayerOne